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Ghost Fishing: New life for lost fishing nets

By Marc Martens

The Ghost Fishing foundation recovers lost, dumped or abandoned fishing gear from seas and oceans worldwide. Recovered fishing nets are recycled and turned into high quality textiles which are used to create new clothing. CurTec drums are used to contain recovered materials on their journey from the bottom of the sea to the point of recycling.

Until a few weeks ago, we never heard of the phenomenon “Ghost fishing” until we spoke to a member of the Ghost Fishing foundation, who use CurTec drums during their many eco ventures. Ghost fishing is what fishing gear does when it has been discarded, lost or abandoned at sea. (Nylon) Fishing nets, lines and traps get snagged on reefs or (ship) wrecks and continue to catch and trap animals and smother underwater habitat, creating lots of ecologic and economic damage.

Ghost gear kills
Ghost gear (lost fishing gear) is among the biggest killers in our seas and oceans, because of their great number and nature of the materials. Hundreds of kilometers of nets and lines get lost every year and due to the sustainable quality of most of the gear, they can and will keep fishing for multiple decades, possibly even for several centuries.

The Ghost Fishing foundation is a non-profit organization, which builds a network around the globe through combining, motivating and initiating ghost fishing projects and exchanging best practices in removing lost nets and marine debris. A team of experienced and well-trained divers removes all types of lost fishing gear and marine debris and makes the problem visible to a worldwide audience.

Recycling with Healthy Seas
Recovered fishing nets are still all too often dumped into landfills or burned, but as part of the Healthy Seas initiative they will be transformed and regenerated into ECONYL® yarn, a high-quality raw material used to create new products, such as socks, swimwear, underwear, carpets, etc.

CurTec drums protect
CurTec drums are used to collect and transport the lost nylon fishing nets from the sea to the mainland where they are cleaned for recycling. Any material that has spent considerable time under water will start to smell the minute it surfaces. The drums were chosen for the job because they close hermetically and prevent decay from setting in. Besides that, the drums are easy to handle and the team also use them to store and safeguard their own gear.

The cleaned fishing nets are delivered to a plant in Ljubljana, Slovenia, where they are regenerated and turned into nylon yarn, which has the same qualities as virgin nylon from fossil raw material.

Watch the Ghost Fishing divers do their job:

Originally a Dutch initiative aimed at cleaning up the Dutch North Sea, Ghost Fishing is now becoming a global brand with teams active in New Zealand, Greece, the US (California) and the UK.

Learn more about Ghost Fishing

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